This week I have read more about the goings-on in the
AFL than I have all season – and it’s a debate that
the NRL needs to have as well. I have even started to read Patrick Smith’s column
in The Australian, where you’ll find an extraordinary amount of common
sense.

When the AFL adopted the NRL judiciary system at the start of the 2005 season I commented that the NRL
deserved credit for persuading a rival code to adopt a seriously flawed process,
and I ventured to suggest it would not be long before AFL clubs were complaining
bitterly about its unfairness and its inequity.

There are three basic flaws identified by Patrick Smith,
and by an increasing number of coaches in the AFL. And, significantly, by Peter
Schwab, the Chairman of the AFL’s Match Review Panel – the NRL equivalent is
Greg McCallum.

The three main areas of concern in the AFL are the
“grading system” used by the match review panel to grade offences based on video
evidence, the harshness of the “prior offences” formula and the weight given to
incidents deemed in play and behind play.

Surprise, surprise, the concerns about the NRL judiciary
system relate to the grading system used by the match review panel, and the
weighting given to prior offences. The “behind the play” incidents are more
common in the AFL than the NRL.

Without wanting to say “I told you so,” these are exactly
the concerns I warned that the AFL would encounter when it proudly adopted the
NRL system.

The full story is on the site here.

Peter Fray

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